Courtesy photo The JV Highlands Eagles show off their NFC championship rings after a 6-0 win over Auburndale propelled them to PAL Super Bowl.
published: Friday, November 16, 2012
Eagles JV headed to Super Bowl
Special to the News-Sun
HAINES CITY - Four teams from the Highlands Youth Football organization played in the NFC Championship game in Haines City on Saturday, Nov. 10.
It was a tough day of competitive championship games for the Eagles with all teams facing the Auburndale Bulls.
Coach Steve Remes' third-seeded Flag team took on the top-seed Bulls in a very physical game.
The Eagles struggled defensively, but the offense produced three scores by Fred Hankerson and John Alexander.
After a defensive battle with key plays by Willie King, Hankerson and Alexander, the Flag team just couldn't hold off the Bulls, resulting in a tough loss to end the season with a final score of 32-18.
Coach Tim Hooks' number four Pee Wee team took on the second-seeded Auburndale squad.
The Bulls quickly took control of the game, thwarting all the Eagles efforts to get the offense going.
The offense led by James Pearson, Christopher Cardoso, Kevin Rivera and Kasey Hawthorne rallied together to get a drive going, but they met a strong Bulls defense to nullify their progress.
The Eagles defense, led by Austin Oppold, Jordan Rose and Devin Brubaker, made key tackles but ultimately costly mistakes and turnovers cost the Eagles another heartbreaking loss with a final score of 27-0.
The defensive battle of the day came at the Junior Varsity level, with the top-seed Eagles facing the second-seeded Bulls.
Rafael Smith earned some key yardage early, but Auburndale's defense would soon stop the drive.
But the Highlands boys returned the favor, shutting down the Bulls drive as the game settled into the knock-down, drag-out, defensive duel.
Scoreless, with less than one minute before the half and the Eagles on their own 15-yard line, the Bulls picked off an interception and ran the ball down the sideline.
A saving tackle was made by Rodrigo Nolan and C.J. Harris just inside the 25-yard line.
The Eagles defense then stood strong and stopped the Bulls, going into halftime scoreless.
The second half of the game continued the defensive battle on both sides of the ball.
With two minutes left in the game and the Eagles on their own 10-yard line, Harris completed a short pass to JnPierre at the 16.
JnPierre broke through two tackles, gained momentum, and ran the remaining 74 yards untouched to score the only touchdown of the day.
With 1:36 left in the game, the Eagles defense was superb with DJ Taylor blocking two passes and Nolan, Smith, JnPierre and Nathan Leonardo providing a defensive wall to deny the Bulls any gain.
This lead to the first win of the day for the Eagles, with a score of 6-0 advancing the JV squad to compete in the Super Bowl.
Coach John Bishop's No 1 Varsity team took on the No 2 Auburndale team.
The offense worked diligently and was able to earn key yards with quarterback Donte Carpenter running the ball and completing passes to Malik Taylor.
But the Eagles met a strong Bulls defense.
The Eagles defense led by Allen Williams, Anthony Oppold and EJ JnPierre made some key tackles.
But they struggled to contain the Bulls, allowing them to take an early 7-0 lead.
The Eagles quickly responded on a long pass completion to Sammie Smith, and then Tremaine Hawthorne ran it in for the touchdown but the extra point was no good, making the score 7-6 at the half.
The second half produced more of the same offensive struggle for the Eagles.
And the Bulls offensive drives were successful, quickly taking control of the game and resulting in a devastating blow for the Eagles undefeated Varsity team in the 20-6 loss.
Sadly this ended the season for the Flag, Pee Wee and Varsity teams, but the Junior Varsity Eagles will continue on to the 2012 Super Bowl.
The Eagles organization is very proud of these teams and their accomplishments and wishes to congratulate the coaches on a job well done.
Each team was awarded an NFC Championship ring as a reward for making it to the Championship round.
The Highlands Eagles will be proudly hosting the 2012 Sunshine Police Athletic League (PAL) Super Bowl which will be held Saturday, Nov. 17, at Firemen's Field.
Admission will be $ 5 for Adults and $ 4 for Children.
Parking charges may apply so please be prepared.
Please come out to support your local youth sports program and cheer the JV Eagles team on, it will surely be a great day of championship football games.
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